Louisiana sinkhole

Tue, 2013-12-31 12:48Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Looking Back at 2013: Photos of Climate Chaos, Natural Disasters, Heartache and Hope

Today, we wrap up 2013 with a slideshow of photographs taken this past year by DeSmog contributor Julie Dermansky. We’re grateful to have Julie on our team, and as you can see from her photographs, she witnessed some awe-inspiring and awful scenes in 2013.

A self-described Accidental Chronicler of Climate Change, Julie lives in New Orleans and has traveled the globe reporting on some of the most important stories of our times through her photojournalism and writing — Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan, Superstorm Sandy, earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the BP Gulf oil disaster, war-torn Iraq, genocide in Rwanda and lots more.

She joined DeSmogBlog in August, and quickly became an invaluable member of our team with her in-depth multimedia coverage of the Louisiana sinkhole, the battle over the southern half of Keystone XL, the fracking bonanza in Texas, the ongoing fallout of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and more.

Sit back and take a journey through Julie’s lens as we remember some of the biggest disasters and climate stories of 2013.

Thu, 2013-08-22 15:02Julie Dermansky
Julie Dermansky's picture

Growing Louisiana Sinkhole Swallowing Trees, Blamed On Industrial Activity

New video filmed in Bayou Corne, Louisiana by the Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness shows the latest “slough in” at an ongoing sinkhole sucking in whole treesThe toxic sinkhole was discovered by a resident on August 3rd, 2012. At that time, it was three acres but it's since grown to over 24 acres in size. According to OEP Director John Boudreaux, “The sinkhole continues to be active and grow.” 

Petrochemical company Texas Brine is being held responsible because a salt cavern they were drilling collapsed, causing the sinkhole. The state of Louisiana is suing Texas Brine for environmental damage. Citizens have either accepted buyouts or joined a class action lawsuit against the company. The area has been under mandatory evacuation since August 3. Many of the 350 residents evacuated, but others have stayed. Parish Police Jury President Marty Triche, who called for the evacuation, recently reminded citizens at a ceremony marking a year since the disaster started that the danger is very real.

The sinkhole caused gas to be released into the aquifer and spread underneath the town. The gas has the potential to fill a home undetected and explode. Those who have stayed have gas monitors in their homes. They are willing to risk the danger of staying because what they have isn't easy to replace. Bayou Corne has been described by many as a hidden paradise. But now there is constant construction, active flares and bubbling methane in the surrounding bayou. And when there's a “slough in,” as shown in the video, the rancid smell of hydrocarbons permeates the air.

Watch footage of the sinkhole swallowing trees whole, filmed by Assumption Parish:

Subscribe to Louisiana sinkhole